Markus Raetz



Markus Raetz born 1941
Felt-tip pen on paper
Support: 301 x 210 mm
Purchased 1987

Not on display

Catalogue entry

T05001 Lisi 1979

Black felt-tip pen on paper 301 × 210 (11 3/4 × 8 1/4)
Stamped in red ink ‘   Okt.1979’ on back top left
Purchased from Galerie Stähli, Zürich (Grant-in-Aid) 1987

This drawing represents a female nude in a pin-up pose and was inspired by a photograph of Marilyn Monroe (see entry on T04998). The image relates to a group of prints and unique works executed three years earlier (see entries on T04998, T04999 and T05000). It is composed of short straight black lines which have been drawn with an ordinary felt pen.

In conversation with the compiler on 10 March 1994, the artist described T05001 as a preliminary drawing for a wooden relief entitled ‘Miss December 1953’ (repr. Markus Raetz: Arbeiten 1962 bis 1986, exh. cat., Kunsthaus, Zürich 1986, p.117). Both drawing and relief were executed in October 1979. The relief was made up of multicoloured wooden strips, arranged in a configuration similar to the lines that make up the figure in T05001 and fixed onto strips of wood. These strips are arranged diagonally (in the opposite direction, that is, running from upper left to bottom right, to the parallel crayon marks in T04998 and T04999). The title ‘Miss December 1953’ refers to the calendar photograph of Marilyn Monroe mentioned above. Eye-catching and easily recognisable, the figure's pin-up pose allowed viewers quickly to decipher what might otherwise appear non-representational lines.

Such a play on the indeterminate area between representation and abstraction, centred characteristically on the figure, inspired a number of works in this period. A few months earlier, in spring 1979, for example, Raetz had made the first of a series entitled ‘Mimi’ (repr. ibid., pp.115–16). In these works he laid branches on the ground in a configuration which suggested a figure. In later works he tended to use straight beams to create the image of the figure (see, for example, a photograph of the artist arranging pieces of wood in Spoleto, 1980, repr.ibid., p.117, and the three recumbent figures, made up of large wooden beams, installed temporarily outside the Serpentine Gallery in 1985, repr. ibid., p.161). A related investigation into the processes of perception and recognition was the mainspring behind a group of watercolours entitled ‘Significant and Insignificant Lines’, 1981 (repr. ibid., p.127, nos.148–53 in col., as ‘Bedeutende und unbedeutende Linien’). These depicted part of a face using short, slightly curving lines that were no different in kind from the surrounding non-representational lines.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996